I Fell In Love On The Road Back To Your House

I Fell In Love On The Road Back To Your House

I think I don't really care about falling in love myself, but I like to watch people fall in love — and not just romantic love.

To my best friend,

I think I don't really care about falling in love myself, 'cause it makes people crazy — all that adrenaline and surge of hormones? But I like watching people fall in love — not just romantic love but love as in friendships or closeness with one's parents. I like watching those relationships develop over time, taking mental snapshots of the sweet moments like they're just as precious to me as they are to the people in it.

Like the way my father yelps at my brother be careful with the knife when he hastily sacrifices a chicken, the way your mom gets a fond, exasperated look on her face when she gives into watching whatever your little sister wants to show her, or the way the girl at the bus stop leans her head against her best friend's shoulder resting against the bench and how her friend doesn't think twice to lift her arm and wrap it around the other's shoulder.

How the professor striding up the stairs bumps into another professor on the way down, and the two recognize each other, grin widely and quickly make plans to meet before hurrying off to class, or the way the blond guy exiting his lab class doesn't care what anyone may think as he launches himself straight into his best friend's arms and whines about three failed trials, and his best friend just ruffles his hair, grips his arm and cheers, "Time for a coffee break!" in a silly voice till the blond lab guy is helplessly smiling wide, eyes crinkling at the corners.

I like how people are thoughtful in the little and big ways, those brief moments that end up meaning a lot unaware of the affectionate look on their face as they just gaze at their loved ones patiently, half-amused and utterly, blissfully, wonderfully content. Time slows down, and I hold my breath, keeping silent during those soft moments when he pushes a lock of her hair back, when she bursts out laughing hunched over the lunch table, when they jostle each other in the halls waiting for class to start or flash quirked brows halfway across a silent classroom. I stare and drink in the emanating love, because they look quite at ease. Because in that moment, there's no next thing to check off the list and nothing to look around searchingly for. There's no hesitance, self-conscious pause or question kept to oneself — rather it's instinctual, natural and quite lovely.

I watch people live in these moments when I'm alone.

When I'm struggling with a chemistry problem on the computer at the bottom floor of the library and glance up at those around me, or when I'm eating lunch in my car before driving home so I don't fall asleep at the wheel, I observe. I don't feel lonely particularly, I don't compare myself on my own to their pairs and groups of friends clustered close together.

I see something beautiful unfolding.

And I wonder, when my mom makes me pancakes for late Wednesday morning breakfasts, when my dad pokes his head in my room after work to say salam, when my siblings glance up and grin at me whenever they find something funny on their Facebook feed, if that's the moment.

Or the way you and I will sit talking for hours, sneaking out of your house at 8 p.m. for Bruster's with the squad of friends when you finally come home, if that's the expression I'll have on my face as I look at you sitting in the driver's seat, a smile tugging at the corners of your lips when Iram shouts something stupid from the backseat, and there's a moment of silence before we all burst out laughing our heads off at a red light on the road back to your house.

I wonder, if I look up at the rear view mirror, will I finally catch that expression blossoming across my face?

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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WALK THE MOON's Press Restart Tour Comes To Denver

If positivity had a sound, it would be the Press Restart tour.

Last night WALK THE MOON brought their A-game at the Ogden Theater in Denver. This vibrant Indie, pop-rock, feel-good, group is currently on their Press Restart tour featuring songs from their newest album release, What If Nothing. The album captures a lot of their original sound, while also encapsulating some of the rawer, more implicit lyrics linked to life, passion, and the meanings of both. If positivity had a sound, it would be the Press Restart tour.

The members of this band are all overwhelmingly talented. Front-man, Nicholas Petricca, is a phenomenal pianist, singer, dancer, and synthesizer. He handles the lead vocals and a lot of the background harmonies, but what's most special about him is his energy. This latest album features a lot of inspiration drawn from his recent experimentation in spirituality and that was evident at the venue last night. Nich quite literally filled the venue with this elated, almost magnetic atmosphere that really draws you into his set and makes you feel alive. It somehow connects you to him, not just as an artist, but as a person, and as a soul. His vulnerability on stage creates a sort of "oneness" between the crowd and the band.

Likewise, slappa-da-bass member Kevin Ray impressed me as always last night. Kevin is ridiculously good at multitasking and that was apparent on stage as he played bass, aided in percussion, and made intimate connections with audience members somehow simultaneously. If you're lucky enough to find yourself on Kevin Ray's side of the stage during a show, you're in for a treat as his interaction is really unlike any other. He seeks out smiles from every person on the floor and will make sure to smile back as soon as he sees that you're looking. He makes sure to get to everyone in the crowd and he makes the experience very personal and intimate. His ultimate goal is just to make sure that everyone is having the time of their life, and he effortlessly accomplished this last night.

The band also includes members Sean Waguaman on drums and Eli Maiman on lead guitar. Sean is like Superman with sticks. He went hard all night long and really embodied what is is to be a non-stop entertainer. If he has a kyrptonite, I definitely didn't see it last night in Denver. Likewise, lead guitarist Eli Maiman played the guitar like you wouldn't believe. He has a special skill for making the guitar sound like something that's not a guitar. His solos provide the sounds for Petricca's atmosphere. His guitar had a voice, and when I listened, it spoke. This tour is also special because the foursome is accompanied by friend and percussioinst, Lachland "Lucky" West and he elevated the live sound by bringing a little something extra to the group that you can't hear outside of a live show.

So, unless slapping on some face-paint, listening to uplifting rock music, and dancing your heart out with a crowd full of people as happy as you doesn't sound like your cup of tea, I highly encourage you to go see WALK THE MOON the next time they come to Colorado. This band is different. Good different.

Cover Image Credit: ellapizarrophoto.com

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Send All Therapy Bills to the Prom Committee

Cue the pig's blood.

It's about damn time someone addressed the elephant in the room: school dances.  For decades now, we as adolescents accepted the horror, the emotionally traumatic experience of a school dance.  Our parents encouraged us to go, our peers expected us, and the media blew the entire occasion out of proportion with examples like Footloose and Back to the Future.

I survived several school dances and I will tell you right now, Kevin Bacon never showed up to one and never would my entire graduating class have banded together to turn a mill into a suitable dance hall, even if Kenny Loggins did serenade us the entire time with songs about being free and heaven helping the man.  Nor did Micheal J. Fox make an appearance with a prepared guitar solo in hand and I know I didn't but did anyone ever feel especially enchanted or under the sea while at a dance?

I didn't think so.  It's practically impossible to feel anything remotely positive while at a mandatory school dance. Even if you do gather the courage to ask a girl to dance or get lucky enough to be the one asked and therefore rescued from the lonely corner of cowering teenage girls, you stay about six inches apart from each other (leaving room for Jesus if you're at a Catholic school, leaving room for your hormones to rage at any other school) which doesn't really help in elevating the romance of the moment.   Not to mention the all too intimate atmosphere created inside the same gym that the basketball team sweats in during the winter and everyone else sweats in during assemblies and pep rallies throughout the year.  Yes, the humidity in the air that the poor girls with curly 80s Jennifer Beals hair try to counteract with hairspray and gel: that’s the lingering sweat of your peers.  Breathe it in.

But wait, there’s more! Yes, not to worry, there’s more factors contributing to this school dance ritual. 

Has anyone thought to argue with the sadistic reality that dances are only forced on us during the most awkward and insecure time in our lives?  There are no dances before 6th grade, when crippling insecurity hasn’t rooted itself so deeply in your growing-pained bones, and there are hardly any formal dances after the age of 18, when everyone is mature enough to know how to ask and accept a dance, or at least give it a shot.  They only occur when we are so hormonally unstable that getting a blue fruit roll up in our lunch instead of a red one could set us off.  We worried enough about the shirt we put on or whether our mom kissed us goodbye when she dropped us off in the morning, why on Earth did someone decided to pile on school dances?  Because that’s exactly what teenagers need: more opportunities for peer pressure and social anxiety. 

So if you’re a boy, you worry about asking a girl out and there’s the matter of how to ask her out and which girl and when to do it and where to do it and how many of your friends are going to post it on Snapchat (earlier generations didn’t have to worry about this at least) and what. If. She. Says. No?!

Well, you may as well just curl up and die right there on the cafeteria floor.

And if you’re a girl you worry about what to wear and whether or not someone will ask you and if someone does, you have to say yes to the right person because obviously who you go to the seventh grade dance with is a vital decision in your life, and what about if no one asks you?  Do you go by yourself and hope someone asks you to dance during one of the three slow songs or do you stay home with your cat and a Hillary Duff movie?

And let’s not forget the fact that social dance isn’t taught anymore so if a slow song does come on and you do happen to have a partner, you don’t have a clue where to put your arms and where you should look and whether or not it’s normal to have your feet stepped on or to be the one stepping on the girl's feet every other second.

Does anyone see a benefit here?

I was talking to my friend about the violation of humanity in forcing only adolescents to attend formal dances and he’s of the opinion that it’s the administration giving themselves an opportunity to watch middle and high schoolers alike suffer.  And while it’s a humorous and possible reason, I don’t know that it’s all the way true.  The majority of administrators and teachers hate school dances.  They have to haggle and barter and threaten one another's parking spots just to get enough chaperones and, especially for high school dances, they spend at least half the year trying to rally enough funds to host said dances.  'Do it for the children,' they tell parents as they stand diligently behind the Prom Fund donation box during soccer games.  Unless your child is Homecoming King or Queen material, they'd prefer that you didn't 'do it for the children' thank you very much. 

But parent guilt is an all powerful persuader so Mom or Dad pay the recommended $10 donation and  eventually the school gains enough money to put on the Homecoming or Freshman dance or the all hallowed Prom and all the students buy their dresses that they'll be tugging at all night, whether their boobs are too big or too small, and the high heels that they can't walk in yet and will inevitably ditch at the door and suits that always hang a little awkwardly on shoulders that haven't quite filled out or arms that are too long for the sleeves.  They will huddle in groups, their palms dripping with sweat and their hearts terrifyingly rabbit-like, as if awaiting to be herded on to the train for Auschwitz.  Then 'Choo, Choo!'--"Hero" by Enrique Iglesias comes on and it's time to accept your fate and get on the train (ask the girl to dance/await your suitor in the corner) or bolt for the bathrooms to wait out the song.  If you're like I was at my Freshman dance in high school, you'll choose option B and wait out those lingering, humiliating 3 minutes in the bathroom with 30 other girls.

So maybe next time you attend a school function and there is a tempting, harmless-looking little donation box for the upcoming Winter Wonderland Dance, just remember that whatever you put in that box is going towards the emotional scarring of your already-fragile adolescent child.  And you'll probably get stuck with the therapy bills, or at the very least, the tears at the end of the night.

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